Aaron Blabey, The Furball Strikes Back (The Bad Guys #3), Scholastic Australia, 1 May 2016, 144pp., $12.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781760157265
Author/illustrator Aaron Blabey has done it again in Episode 3 The Furball Strikes Back. His writing style of fast paced action, movie style scripting and no unnecessary detail will have young readers hooked from the first minute. Undoubtedly aimed at reluctant reader boys, The Furball (an angry guinea pig) strikes back in response to the Good Guys Club releasing his chickens from Sunnyside chicken farm in a previous episode.
Blabey’s ‘evil’ animal characters are superficial and successful-by-accident (the kids would say ‘random!’), however his illustrations are full of emotions and character. It is easy to see why this style is popular with tech savvy youngsters who like a good story without too much effort. The language is very contemporary, current characters like the ‘ninja’ (popular with so many kids at the moment) are used with perfect placement and timing and the underlying storyline is dramatic but easy to follow. Pure and simple enjoyment rather than academic rigour is the key here.
Page layouts in this graphic novel suggest screen shots and this series would make a very smooth and easy transition to TV or film. Blabey’s own past as an actor certainly informs his work in this instance.
The Bad Guys is a series with a very specific style. One which is bound to bring reading enjoyment through its sense of adventure and fun. This series is certain to become a collector’s delight.
Reviewed by Katie Bingham